France announces third bidding round

FRANCE: A third bidding round for offshore wind projects will be launched next year, French energy and environment minister Ségolène Royal confirmed yesterday.

While the capacity and timing have yet to be decided, Royal has asked the regional authorities to identify new zones favourable for fixed and floating turbines by 30 April.

In the meantime, the tender process is being reviewed and will take the form of a "competitive dialogue", the minister said.

The idea is to encourage competition and drive down costs, building on experience gained from the first two tender rounds in 2010 and 2013, explained Matthieu Monnier, industry and offshore wind adviser at the French Wind Energy Association.

To speed up the permitting process, Royal has drafted a decree establishing a single administrative court to handle legal cases concerning offshore projects. The draft will be released for consultation in the coming days, she said.